Constipation, a common digestive problem, causes difficulties in having bowel movements. This may present itself in the shape of reduced frequency of bowel movements, hard stool almost impossible to pass without severe straining or a sensation of needing to have bowel movements even shortly after having had one.
Although it can produce pains within the stomach area, particularly if constipated over prolonged periods, it is not generally considered a cause of shortness of breath.
Shortness of breath and possibly accompanying pain can have a variety of causes, depending on severity and duration.
A sudden, severe shortness of breath combined with acute pain or tightness within the chest could be signs of a heart attack, pneumothorax, a condition where air gets in between the chest wall and lungs, a pulmonary embolism, in which a blood clot has moved into the lungs or a collapsed lung, known as atelectasis.
In either case, immediate medical assistance is required and 911, if resident in the US, or 999, for UK residents, should be called.
Episodes of short breath combined with coughing or wheezing may indicate asthma or an infection causing a narrowing of bronchial tubes. A doctor or emergency ward at a hospital should be visited immediately.
Prolonged shortness of breath which is gradually getting worse, especially after years of exposure to fumes, dust or cigarette smoke, indicates a possibility of chronic bronchitis or obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. A doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.
This is also the case breathing is harder when lying down and feet/ ankles are swollen, as this points to congestive heart failure causing a build up of fluid in both lungs and feet.
Sarcoidosis, or interstitial lung disease, pulmonary hypertension and lung cancer are other possible causes, and all of them need urgent medical attention.
I myself suffer from frequent bouts of constipation. I think I may be IBS C or IBD but I refuse the tests (colonoscopy and other stuff) so I don't know for sure. Unless they think I have cancer and my blood tests are irregular, I won't do severe stuff for something that can't be fixed anyways, such as IBS/IBD (both of which can't be fixed).
Still, I have shortness of breath when I'm really full. There are many doctors who say constipation doesn't cause shortness of breath, but I think they may be wrong. If you google, you will see there are many complaints of shortness of breath, and then when they finally have a good BM, they are super energetic and feel like normal. I think, as someone said above, that it could be the stool pushing up into the diaphragm because, when I touch my side, I can feel a tickle in the middle of my chest. I went to the ER, and they took xrays, turns out I was so back up. Normally constipation fills on the left, but I was jammed all the way over to the right where the smaller intestine is.
Anyway, totally gross, but yes... Shortness of breath is definitely a possibility, and it will go away like magic after you have a BM. Or, sometimes it will take a day or so. Pushing against the diaphragm is a tad bit damaging - you may need a day or two to recover.
Could it possibly be that when you are constipated the fecal matter is filling the bowel and therefore creating pressure on the diaphragm and making it hard to breathe?
I really don't think it's the constipation causing the shortness of breath..but more likely the pain that come with it...when someone is in pain the harder it is to breath...